Canyoneering Route Description

South Guardian Angel Canyon (aka SGA) - 4A IV (V)
Zion National Park, Utah

Quick Facts

10-23-15, 3 people, 1 Day (Travel time in route 20.5 hours) Pictures Icon  (Full descent but bypassing about 600 feet of canyon).
06-12-16, 4 people, 1 Day (Travel time in route 19.25 hours) Pictures Icon  (Full descent)

Time Required - 17 to 20 hours
Distance - 8.8 miles Total, 0.7 miles Technical
Rappels - 11 Rappels, Longest Rappel 305 feet.  Longest rap could be longer if anchor webbing not extended, see general comments below.
Elevation Range - 4660 - 6500 Feet
Shuttle Required - Yes 7.6 Miles Vehicle - Passenger Permit Required - Yes

Gear Used for Canyon

Rappelling and anchor gear, Ropes and or pull cords for rappels up to 305 feet and 80 feet of 1 inch webbing for sling placement.  Note that the final rappel needs to have anchor webbing extended to the lip for it to be only 305 feet.  If you do not extend the anchor webbing, you will need a longer rope.

General Comments

South Guardian Angel Canyon (SGA) started out as curiosity staring at Google Earth which later led to three epic adventures.  A scout trip, a descent of the canyon where we bypassed a portion, then later a full descent.

While I have this route labeled as a IV, it may be best as an overnight trip?  But if you like LONG days then this makes for a great single day route.  If you are fast on a single day trip or if you are doing this as an overnight, you can take an hour or 2 and go up to the peak of South Guardian Angel Peak before dropping down into the canyon.  The detour to the peak of South Guardian Angel is about 0.4 miles with about 650 feet of elevation gain and then back down for a round trip total of 0.8 miles.

The route to South Guardian Angel Canyon (SGA Canyon) follows an off trail route down into the Subway drainage then climbs up the other side of the Subway.  The route continues off trail to the head of SGA Canyon, down SGA into the Subway below any of the technical portion of the Subway.  Since the route crosses and partially descends the Subway drainage, the Zion park service requires a permit for Subway.

SGA is rated a 4 in technical difficulty since a couple of the anchors require a little extra effort to set, one of the rappels is very awkward as you stem over a skinny slot and controlled pendulum down under it to continue rappelling, one traverse to a ledge is a little tricky and a few other odds and ends.  Be prepared to think about your anchors and how your rope will flow in a few places.

The two deep slots that you rappel down into while in SGA are unlike anything I have seen yet.  Ok so I have rappelled down into slots before but the scale of the second slot is massive and a real treat!  Rappelling down about 250 feet into a deep crack then finding a flat sandy bottom that runs for a few hundred feet, simply makes you feel small when you're in there.

The final rappel is massively tall feeling with most of it free hanging in a hanging garden / alcove sweeping around you.  Another good reason to enjoy this route if you like such sights. 

There is water in the canyon but nothing more than knee deep so no wetsuits are needed.

Note:
The description and GPS points in the approach portion of this route description can also be useful for those just hiking to the South Guardian Angel Peak in Zion National Park as well.  The hike to SGA can be difficult to route find and a GPS loaded with the points here may keep you on track.

Warning - Dangerous scramble from the bottom of rap 5.
See the notes below in the route description for more details.  Rap 5 drops part way down a deep crack to a ledge where you can then scramble up to a large vegetated ledge to walk down canyon to rap 6 dropping back down into the deep crack.  The scramble up to the larger vegetated ledge is not difficult but is very dangerous.  An unprotected fall would result in sure death.  Protecting the first person up the scramble can be done but a fall would still result in a serious pendulum like tumble / fall.  This spot is dangerous and possibly lethal rather it is protected or not.  Be sure to be aware of the risks before taking this route.

A bolted anchor here would make this scramble un-necessary since the rappel can then be done down through the crack.  However there are no bolted hangers here and you will need to exercise extreme caution.

Warning - Rope Length:
The final rap is 305 feet from the lip at the top of the drop, IF, the anchor webbing is extended to the lip of the drop.  The anchor is a tree about 20 feet back from the drop and anchor webbing needs to be extended.  If you do not extend the anchor webbing, you will need more than 305 feet of rope.  Of note there are huge flat ledges on both the RDC and LDC sides at the top of the final rap.  The RDC ledge allows you to lay down and look over the edge to see the floor below and tell if the rope reaches the bottom.

Warning - Navigation:
The route to SGA involves route finding in convoluted terrain down into and crossing the Subway drainage.  If you have done the hike to SGA peak before then you likely know the route and will have an easier time.  If you are unfamiliar with tis route be prepared to put on your skilled navigator hat and figure it out.  GPS is recommended to help keep you on track or you can try to follow the written approach description here.  I have heard of people getting lost and not finding their way when doing this route to go to SGA peak so be aware you will need to think through this one.

Driving Directions

To get to the Trailhead

From the South Gate entrance to Zion National Park, drive about 14 miles west on highway 9 to the turn off for Kolob Reservoir (Kolob Reservoir Road).  Drive another 15.6 miles to the Wildcat Canyon trailhead. Park your car and start your route.

To leave the Exit Vehicle / Escape Pod

From the South Gate to Zion National Park, drive about 14 miles west on highway 9 to the turn off for Kolob Reservoir (Kolob Reservoir Road).  Drive about 8.2 miles to the Left Fork of North Creek trailhead.  Park the exit vehicle here then continue up to the Wild Cat Canyon trailhead to begin the route.  Leave a vehicle here as the escape pod.

Maps - - - - GPS coordinate information listed at the bottom of this route description.

For information about my waypoint naming convention and map symbols, refer to the Glossary page.

Map Link Icon
Click the links for maps of the route.
Map of the entire route.
Map 1 of approach.
Map 2 of approach.
Map 3 of approach.
Map of the technical section.
Map of the exit.

Details

The Approach:
From the Wildcat Canyon trailhead (tWildCatCyn) follow the trail about 1 mile to the Northgate peaks trail junction (you will pass the Hop Valley connector trail junction shortly before the Northgate junction).  Turn right (south) at the junction (jNorthGatePks) and follow the Northgate Peaks trail heading south.

About 1.1 miles the Northgate peaks trail will top out in a rocky section (wSGA-Apr01) where the trail appears to fade away.  At this point you will be between the Northgate Peaks.

To continue down toward North Guardian Angel Peak, The Subway and South Guardian Angel Peak / Canyon, look for the trail turning left to travel east down the side of the ridge down into the drainage on the left (east).  The trail is not hard to find if you look for it.

About 400 feet farther you will be down in a shallow drainage (wSGA-Apr02).  From here follow south down the drainage.

About 400 feet down the drainage you may find some use trails going up out of the drainage (wSGA-Apr03) to the left (east).  You can go up the use trails and intersect with the route described here.  However following the use trails down along the drainage makes for more simple navigation and is what is described here. 

Follow south down the drainage using use trails that have been well worn in generally following the LDC bank for about 0.2 miles to where it gives way to wide open spaces (wSGA-Apr04).

When you get to the wide open spaces (wSGA-Apr04) you can see North Guardian Angle Peak about 0.25 miles to the south. Veer left and travel southeast about 0.2 miles over to the base of the low nose of North Guardian Angel.

When you get to near the base of North Guardian Angel (wSGA-Apr05), make your way east about 400 feet and cross over the head of a drainage running down to the south.

From the head of the drainage (wSGA-Apr06), contour around the head to travel south and follow the slick rock up the left (east) side of the drainage. As you make your way up the slickrock slope you will have a beehive like rock above you on your left and the drainage you went around on your right.

Follow up the slickrock for about 450 feet to where it tops out (wSGA-Apr07) From this top out begin traveling down the slope to the south. As you descend to the south veer left (southeast) and route find your way over to the crest of the major ridge running down south. You will cross over a minor drainage as you get over to the crest of the ridge.

Note:
This is where navigation can get very convoluted and written directions will help but may fail to properly convey the route.  A GPS can be helpful. 

Don't forget to take a moment to enjoy the incredible views with South Guardian Angel Peak about 1.7 miles away to the southwest and SGA Canyon dropping down right from the middle of South Guardian Angel.

Example Pic. View of South Guardian Angel Peak and South Guardian Angel Canyon dropping down the center of it.

About 0.2 miles down the ridge the route will pass between two sandstone hills along the crest of the ridge (wSGA-Apr08). Continue south down the ridge toward an area with some hoodoo like features with black conglomerate tops.

About 300 feet farther look for a cairned route (wSGA-Apr9) dropping down the left (east) side leaving the crest of the ridge you are on down into a drainage below and about 270 feet east.  The route is sometimes well cairned and is relatively easy to follow.

Note:
If you do not find the cairns and continue down the ridge another 130 feet you will get to a point along the ridge with a steep drop off preventing travel down the ridge.  If this happens, simply turn around and go back up the ridge about 130 feet looking for a route down off the ridge to the drainage to the east.

Once down in the drainage below the ridge (wSGA-Apr10), follow south down the drainage about 200 feet to where more cairns mark a route that contours to the left (east) out of the drainage (wSGA-Apr11). Route find along the cairned route southeast about 200 feet to the next ridge over.

When you get to the next ridge over (wSGA-Apr12), route find your way south down the ridge about 500 feet to where the ridge slowly becomes a wide drainage.

As the ridge turns into a side drainage (wSGA-Apr13) follow more cairns south down the drainage.  Note that you can not go too far east here since you will get to the top of a huge vertical cliff overlooking a massive drainage.

About 150 feet farther will be the head of a steep ravine / drainage (wSGA-Apr14) running south down toward the Subway. Travel south down the ravine toward the Subway. This ravine is very steep and has a few spots to bushwhack and downclimb over some minor drops.

About 250 feet down the steep ravine will be wide open spaces (wSGA-Apr15) where there are some use trails continuing south over toward the Subway and will lead to a cliff band where you cannot climb down into the Subway.  Instead of following the use trails south, turn left and go east about 100 feet over to the top of another ravine / drainage (wSGA-Apr16)

From the top of the final ravine down into the Subway (wSGA-Apr16) scramble your way down for about 100 feet to a large flat landing. From that flat landing drop down to the right into more ravine and scramble your way down into the Subway.

Note: As you travel down the ravine from the large flat landing the rock wall on the right will open up a short distance down where you can turn hard right and scramble down a steep dirt path into the bottom of the ravine. As soon as the rock wall subsides make your way down into the bottom of the ravine! If you don't turn right and instead follow well worn social trails on a more gentle slope, you will find a cliff out and be forced to backtrack.

At the bottom of the ravine you will be down in the Subway (jSubway-SGA).  Walk across to the ravine on the opposite side and travel south up the ravine to get up and out of The Subway.

Example Pic. View looking up the Subway to know you are in the correct spot.

As you start south up the ravine out of the Subway, do not stay in the middle of the ravine which will lead up to huge boulders you can not climb up over. Instead stay on the far right side of the ravine to an upclimb about 100 feet up out of The Subway just after passing an arch feature.

The upclimb is in two stages of about 10 feet then 8 feet with the second part being a bit sketchy. After getting up the upclimb, work your way back into the middle of the ravine above the large boulders.

A little farther up the ravine is a fork where you will want to continue up the left fork and scramble your way up to where you can get out of the ravine on the LUC (east) side out onto dirt slopes with some use trails forming (wSGA-Apr17).

Follow those use trails up about 200 feet with a couple switchbacks to the top out (wSGA-Apr18) at a saddle on the canyon rim above.  Route find your way south about 300 feet down into a sandy wash (jSGA-N.Pole ).  Turn left to walk northeast up the drainage in wide open sandy wash with some low water flow and grasses.

About 330 feet east up the drainage will be a fork in the wash (wSGA-Apr19).   Turn right at the fork and travel south. Some sections of the wash have use trails on the RUC side that may make travel a little easier. 

About 0.17 miles up the wash will be a pool to go around (wSGA-Apr20) which you may or may not see depending on if you are traveling in the wash or just up out of it.

 Continue south up the wash or the occasional use trail for about 0.6 miles to where the sandy wash gets to the bottom of a large sandstone dryfall (wSGA-Apr21) of about 30 or 40 feet tall.

Sand wash gets up to the bottom of a 30 or 40 foot sandstone dryfall. Scramble your way up the dryfall or take the easier route and bypass on the slopes on the left (south).

From the top of the dryfall, route find your way southwest up the very wide slickrock drainage for about 600 feet to where it gets steeper as you approach a big vertical wall.  Note that the drainage is very wide and does not feel like a distinct drainage.

Where the slickrock drainage begins to get steep (wSGA-Apr22), veer left (south) and route find your way up the steep slickrock about 200 feet to a scramble / upclimb of about 15 feet (wSGA-Apr23) near a small peak.  The upclimb may be a little awkward with a heavy pack.

Example Pic. Upclimb on the approach that may be a little awkward with a pack on.

From the top of the upclimb contour around the small peak to continue west about 150 feet to a small saddle like area where you can start to see the peak of South Guardian Angel.

From the small saddle like area (wSGA-Apr24) you can start to see the peak of South Guardian Angel. From here route find your way west toward South Guardian Angel contouring around ridges and bowls where needed. About 0.25 miles farther you will be at a shallow saddle where you can see the slickrock ridge leading up South Guardian Angel (jSGA-Canyon).

From the shallow saddle (wSGA-Apr24) you can see the slickrock ridge leading up to South Guardian Angel Peak to the south and you can also see South Guardian Angel Canyon down to the right (west).

The Side Trips:
If you want to take a side trip up to South Guardian Angel Peak you can drop your gear and make the trip up which may take an hour or 2.  The detour to the peak of South Guardian Angel is about 0.4 miles with about 650 feet of elevation gain and then back down for a round trip total of 0.8 miles.

To drop down into SGA Canyon, leave the slickrock ridge here and route find your way about 1200 feet southwest to where you can walk down into the canyon about 200 feet below the headwall. You will need to route find your way around a couple drops on the way there.

The Canyoneering / Technical Section:
When you reach the top of South Guardian Angel Canyon (ySGATp), you can walk into the side of the water course about 200 feet from the head wall.

Before dropping down SGA Canyon you can take a short scramble up the LDC side just before rap 1 to look over the entire drainage.  Once up at the side view area (SGA-SideView) you have good views over the canyon and you can see North Guardian Angel Peak as well.

Rap 1 (dSGA-R01) is a little over 100 feet down canyon, anchored from a stout bush on the LDC rim about 40 feet down canyon of the top of the drop and drops about 80 feet down a narrow crack. Rap 1 may possibly be downclimbed but it would be a bad idea due to an awkward start to get under a false floor and the lower portion being very slick with moss.

Note - Rap 1 alternate anchor options:
There is a large pine tree near the head of the drop that could be used but would place the rope over a VERY sharp edge. There are also choke stones at the top of the drop but these will force the rope into v-slots creating rope pull issues and create a very awkward start.

Right after rap 1 is another drop of about 35 feet that is bypassed by climbing down along the crack and ledge system on the RDC side. There are a lot of little huecos in the rock here that are interesting to look at and play in.

Part way down the ledge system on the RDC side is a drop of about 6 feet that is pretty awkward. Providing a hand line to everyone and a partner assist here for the last person makes this pretty simple. Although this drop is a downclimb it looks like a bad idea when just looking from the top. After getting someone down on rope they can easily assist others.

About 50 feet after the downclimb is rap2.

Rap 2 (dSGA-R02) is anchored from a large rock in the wash about 10 feet back from the drop and drops about 12 feet with a very awkward start.  From the bottom of rap 2 continue down a narrow slot with level floor for about 100 feet to rap 3 where the floor of the narrow slot drops out suddenly.

Rap 3 (dSGA-R03) is anchored from choke stone and drops about 140 feet with a ledge about 25 feet from the bottom into a huge deep feeling chamber.  The anchor is down on the floor of the skinny crack where it is difficult to get to. Starting rap 3 is awkward as you need to stem out past the false floor and past more skinny crack where you will not fit down through then rap down under the false floor where you need to pendulum under a little ways.  This start is made more awkward since it is skinny making it difficult to get you and your pack to squeeze through. Facing RDC allows better features for the stem out and pendulum under the top of rap 3. With a lot of effort and attention, the pendulum action can be slow and controlled.

If this place were to be bolted one day this rappel would be a good candidate for a solid set of hangers to allow a rap straight down and no pendulum action.

Exiting the down canyon end of the chamber below rap 3 is done by laying down on your side and worming through a narrow opening at the canyon floor and pushing your pack along the canyon floor for about 6 feet to get where you can stand up and walk. There is one other possible exit about 8 feet up where the crack widens but it would be very difficult to get up to. The rest of the crack is not large enough to allow exit.

Rap 4 is almost 500 feet down canyon after the chamber and is easy wash walking with one downclimb of about 6 feet.

Rap 4 (dSGA-R04) is anchored from logs wedged about 50 feet back from the drop and drops about 25 feet down a trickling water fall. Since there are not good anchors at the top of rap 4 and you will anchor about 50 feet back. A retrievable anchor like a Smooth Operator can make the pull easier and help reduce rope grooves. After rap 4 is about 250 feet of easy walking over to the start of another deep, dark, intimidating crack and rap 5.

Rap 5 (dSGA-R05) is anchored from a large pine tree about 65 feet back from the drop then drops down sloped slick rock another 75 feet down to a small ledge down in the slot on the LDC side large enough for 2 to 3 people.  The small ledge is right where the crack goes vertical, deep and dark.

From the small ledge scramble up a sloped slickrock ramp to a large vegetated ledge.  The scramble up is moderately easy but the consequences of a fall will be fatal as you will fall into the very deep vertical crack.  BE SURE to belay the first person up who can then set a rope on a nearby tree to assist everyone else.  The belay for the first person up can be done with the rappel rope from rap 5 but a fall would result in a pendulum like fall / tumble.  WARNING: This is a tricky spot and care must be taken.  This spot is dangerous and careful thought of how to proceeded is needed.

Note:
To belay the first person up the slickrock ramp a 190 foot rope is recommended for rap 5.  About 150 feet own to the small ledge and another 40 feet up the ramp to the wide vegetated ledge / shelf.

Example Pic. This is a tricky spot where care should be taken to stay safe.

Once up the slickrock ramp and onto the large vegetated ledge, walk down canyon about 180 feet down canyon to a downclimb of about 6 feet where at the bottom you can anchor from a large pine tree for rap 6 down into the slot.

Note:
Another option would be to rig from a large tree near the top of the ramp and drop down into the slot from there.  Where a 300 foot rope will likely be more than long enough for the rappel but this has not been confirmed. Also of note if you drop down the head of the crack by rappelling here you will be on the up canyon side of a pool to swim at the floor of the crack. To avoid this pool use the rappel station down canyon as described here.

Rap 6 (dSGA-R06) is anchored from a large pine and drops about 240 feet down into the deep dark crack with a few ledges along the way. A partner assistable downclimb of about 6 feet is just before getting to the anchor. Be very careful not to knock rocks off this sloped dirt and rock filled ledge. When pulling your ropes be sure to walk a little up canyon to keep your ropes from pulling down onto logs jammed overhead.

At the bottom of rap 6 is a flat level sandy floor in the bottom of the deep dark crack where you can walk up canyon about 160 feet to the lower part of the vertical head wall of the crack and walk about 300 feet down canyon to where the crack starts to open up and you get to the next rap. Take time to enjoy the belly of this crack as it is a very unique place since it is a combination of water course and deep fault.

Someone on the trip made note that they have never felt so small as they did when on the floor of this crack.  I have rappelled into cracks before but the scale of this is huge and does indeed make you feel tiny.  This is one of the spots that makes this route so awesome.

Rap 7 (dSGA-R07) is anchored LDC from an arch up on a ledge and drops about 30 feet down the LDC wall to avoid a pool below that would be a swimmer. Optionally you can build a deadman anchor in the sand and rappel about 16 feet down the water course to the pool.  Easy wash walking for about 500 feet to the next rap.

Rap 8 (dSGA-R08) is anchored from a large pine tree about 30 feet back and drops about 70 feet over some ledges near the top then goes free hanging over an alcove. 

About 9 feet after the rap is a 20 foot drop to bypass (SGA-Cyn02) on the LDC side by traversing along a sloped dirt bank over and down to the top of the next rap.

Rap 9 (dSGA-R09) is anchored LDC from a pine tree about 20 feet back up out of the wash and drops about 70 feet. The start to this rap can be a little awkward as it starts down a dihedral and keeping your rope in the corner as you head over can be tricky. Easy walking in sand for about 180 feet to the next rap.

Rap 10 (dSGA-R10) is anchored LDC from a small pine and drops about 30 feet down to a huge ledge in the water course where the final rap is.

Rap 11(dSGA-R11) is anchored from a pine tree on the RDC side of the large ledge about 20 feet back and drops about 305 feet from the lip. The first 25 feet is down a wall then the rap goes free hanging the rest of the way down in a huge very scenic alcove. This is an amazing view so take time to enjoy it!

Warning:
Be sure to extend the the webbing for the anchor all the way and slightly over the lip to ensure an easier pull and make the drop only 305 feet. The rappel starts down a crack which you can easily downclimb into while on rope allowing a safe way to get down the start of the rappel with the anchor webbing extended slightly over the lip.

There are big flat ledges on both sides of this rappel. The RDC ledge allows you to laydown and look over to see the entire drop and see if your rope bag is on the ground.

From the bottom of the final rap walk down canyon around a huge rock and dirt island with a couple scramble spots down to the Subway about 750 feet west.

The Exit:
From the end of the SGA Canyon drainage where it meets the Subway drainage (ySGA-Bt) turn left and follow southwest down Left Fork of North Creek with a mix of trails on the canyon sides and areas where walking through the water is needed.

About 10.74 miles downstream is a large rock RDC with dinosaur tracks on it (sDinosaurTrks).  Some of the tracks are quite deep and very clear.  The tracks are on a couple of very large white boulders RDC.

About 1.2 miles down canyon from the dinosaur tracks is the junction for the trail up the side of the right ( north west) side of the canyon to the exit vehicle parked at the Left Fork of North Creek trailhead. 

The junction for the exit trail is 0.5 miles from where Pine Spring wash comes in RDC.  A sign with a foot step on it (jFootTrlSgn01) is posted about 225 feet before reaching the exit trail.  From where the exit trail meets the main canyon wash (jLftFrkNrthCk) the ascent up to the trailhead is up a steep ravine and soon turns to a steep trail along the hill side to the top to the Left Fork of North Creek trailhead.

GPS Waypoint Information

GPX Files Available for DOWNLOAD.
Downloadable GPX files for many of the canyons listed here are now available at the BG-Gear Store.  In addition to the waypoints, the GPX files also offer routes and tracks for the canyon.  Over time more GPX files will be added.

If you want to avoid manually adding waypoints into your GPS or mapping software, want the additional routes and tracks or simply want to support the efforts put into BluuGnome, head over to the BG-Gear Store and grab the files that interest you.

Elevations are approximate.  Waypoints with no elevation data will display NaN in place of the elevation.

For information about my waypoint naming convention and map symbols, refer to the Glossary page.

Notes for GPS information:
BEFORE
entering coordinates from this website, please ensure your system (GPS or mapping software) is set to the same datum used here.  Waypoint coordinates are listed with WGS84 datum and in Lat/Lon hddd.ddddd° format.  Entering coordinate information with inconsistent datum's can result in the waypoints being off by hundreds of feet.  It is important to keep this in mind when entering waypoints from any source.

SGA 1 - Drive past the Exit then to Trailhead
  1. extKolobRes          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 37.20374   W -113.18604        Elev: NaN Feet
    Turn off for Kolob Reservior Raod.
  2. tLftFrkNrthCk          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 37.28480   W -113.09576        Elev: 5,070 Feet
    Trailhead for the Left Fork of North Creek trail.
  3. tWildCatCyn          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 37.33985   W -113.07587        Elev: 6,970 Feet
    Wild Cat Canyon Trailhead.
SGA 2 - Approach
  1. tWildCatCyn          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 37.33985   W -113.07587        Elev: 6,970 Feet
    Wild Cat Canyon Trailhead.
  2. jHopVlyCnct          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 37.33957   W -113.06195        Elev: 6,915 Feet
    Junction for the Hop Valley Connector Trail.
  3. jNorthGatePks          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 37.34009   W -113.05970        Elev: 6,930 Feet
    Junction to the Northgate Peaks trail.
  4. wSGA-Apr01          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 37.32571   W -113.05656        Elev: NaN Feet
    The Northgate Peaks trail ends about here where you are between the Northgate Peaks out on the end of a ridge with a lot of rock and rubble. To continue down toward North Guardian Angel Peak, The Subway and South Guardian Angel Peak look for the trail turning left to travel east down the side of the ridge down into the drainage on the left (east).
  5. wSGA-Apr02          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 37.32539   W -113.05552        Elev: NaN Feet
    Down in a drainge to the left (east) of the end of the Northgate Peaks Trail. To continue toward North Guardian Angle Peak, The Subway and South Guardian Angel Peak follow south down the drainage.
  6. wSGA-Apr03          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 37.32436   W -113.05594        Elev: NaN Feet
    The route follows down the drainage to the south. Follow south down the drainage using use trails that have been well worn in generally following the LDC bank for about 0.2 miles to where it gives way to wide open spaces. There are some use trails here leading up out of the drainage on the LDC (east) side. You can follow these trails up the slope then contour around the base of the sandstone hill, but this does not take significant length off the route. It is simpler to stay in the drainage and impacts the area less.
  7. wSGA-Apr04          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 37.32178   W -113.05567        Elev: NaN Feet
    The drainage gives way to wide open spaces where you can see North Guardian Angle Peak about 0.25 miles to the south. Veer left and travel southeast about 0.2 miles over to the base of the low nose of North Guardian Angel.
  8. wSGA-Apr05          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 37.32001   W -113.05391        Elev: NaN Feet
    This is near the base of the low nose of North Guardian Angel. Make your way east about 400 feet and cross over the head of a drainage running down to the south. If you are going up to North Guardian Angle, follow up the crest of this ridge to bigin the ascent.
  9. wSGA-Apr06          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 37.32015   W -113.05270        Elev: NaN Feet
    Head of a drainage running down to the south. Contour around the head of the drainage to travel south and follow the slick rock up the left (east) side of the drainage. As you make your way up the slickrock slope you will have a beehive like rock above you on your left and the drainage you went around on your right.
  10. wSGA-Apr07          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 37.31910   W -113.05214        Elev: 6,600 Feet
    Top out of the slickrock slope after contouring around a drainage. From this top out begin traveling down the slope to the south. As you descend to the south veer left (southeast) and route find your way over to the crest of the major ridge running down south. You will cross over a minor drainage as you get over to the crest of the ridge. Great view of South Guardian Angel about 1.7 miles away to the southwest and SGA Canyon dropping down right from the middle of South Guardian Angel.
  11. wSGA-Apr08          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 37.31687   W -113.05051        Elev: NaN Feet
    Passing between two sandstone hills along the crest of the ridge. Continue south down the ridge toward an area with some hoodoo like features with black conglomerate tops.
  12. wSGA-Apr9          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 37.31607   W -113.05033        Elev: 6,280 Feet
    This is about 130 feet before you get to a steep drop off along the ridge preventing further travel down the ridge. To follow the easier route, follow a cairned route leaving the crest of the ridge and travel right (east) down slopes into a drainage about 275 feet to the right (east). The route is sometimes well cairned and is relatively easy to follow. If you do not find the cairns and continue down the ridge another 130 feet you will get to a point along the ridge with a steep drop off preventing travel down the ridge.
  13. wSGA-Apr10          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 37.31630   W -113.04948        Elev: NaN Feet
    Cairned route drops into then follows south down a drainage.
  14. wSGA-Apr11          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 37.31577   W -113.04919        Elev: NaN Feet
    Cairned route contours to the left (east) out of the drainage. Route find along the cairned route southeast about 200 feet to the next ridge over.
  15. wSGA-Apr12          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 37.31540   W -113.04869        Elev: NaN Feet
    Cairned route gets to the next ride. Route find your way south down the ridge. A little over 400 feet south the ridge slowly becomes a wide drainage.
  16. wSGA-Apr13          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 37.31404   W -113.04806        Elev: 5,880 Feet
    Cairned route follows down a wide drainage to the south. Follow the cairns south down the drainage. If you travel east from here you will get to the top of a huge cliff looking down into a massive draiange.
  17. wSGA-Apr14          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 37.31366   W -113.04815        Elev: NaN Feet
    Head of a steep ravine / drainage running south down toward the Subway. Travel south down the ravine toward the Subway. This ravine is very steep and has a few spots to bushwhack and downclimb over some minor drops.
  18. wSGA-Apr15          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 37.31302   W -113.04774        Elev: NaN Feet
    Ravine drops down into wide open spaces where there are some use trails continuing south over toward the Subway and will lead to a cliff band where you cannot climb down into the Subway. Instead of following the use trails south, turn left and go east about 100 feet over to the top of another ravine / drainage.
  19. wSGA-Apr16          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 37.31305   W -113.04751        Elev: NaN Feet
    Top of a ravine / drainage, scramble your way down for about 100 feet to a large flat landing. From that flat landing drop down to the right into more ravine and scramble your way down into the Subway. Note: As you travel down the ravine from the large flat landing the rock wall on the right will open up a short distance down where you can turn hard right and scramble down a steep dirt path into the bottom of the ravine. As soon as the rock wall subsides make your way down into the bottom of the ravine! If you dont turn right and instead follow well worn social trails on a more gentle slope, you will find a cliff out and be forced to backtrack.
  20. jSubway-SGA          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 37.31245   W -113.04730        Elev: 5,510 Feet
    SGA route crosses The Subway here. Walk across to the ravine on the opposite side and travel south up the ravine to get up and out of The Subway. As you start south up the ravine out of the Subway do not stay in the middle of the ravine which will lead up to huge boulders you can not climb up over. Instead stay on the far right side of the ravine to an upclimb about 100 feet up out of The Subway just after passing an arch feature. The upclimb is in two stages of about 10 feet then 8 feet with the second part being a bit sketchy. After getting up the upclimb, work your way back into the middle of the ravine above the large boulders. A little farther up the ravine is a fork where you will want to continue up the left fork and scramble your way up to where you can get out of the ravine on the LUC (east) side out onto dirt slopes with some use trails forming.
  21. wSGA-Apr17          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 37.31230   W -113.04694        Elev: NaN Feet
    Just above a fork in the ravine. As you travel up the ravine scramble up the left fork then shortly up the left fork scramble your way out onto the LUC (east) side onto steep dirt slopes with use trailsleading up the bank. Follow the use trails south up the steep slopes about 200 feet to a saddle on the canyon rim above.
  22. wSGA-Apr18          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 37.31177   W -113.04678        Elev: 5,740 Feet
    Saddle on the canyon rim. Drop down the slopes to the south into a drainage about 350 feet away.
  23. jSGA-N.Pole          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 37.31096   W -113.04632        Elev: 5,710 Feet
    In the drainage down from the saddle. To continue to South Guardian Angel turn left to walk northeast up the drainage in wide open sandy wash with some low water flow and grasses. Turn right and go southwest down the drainage if you plan to go down into North Polel Canyon.
  24. wSGA-Apr19          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 37.31117   W -113.04519        Elev: NaN Feet
    Fork in the wash. To continue to SGA travel south up the right fork. Some sections of the wash have use trails on the RUC side that may make travel a little easier?
  25. wSGA-Apr20          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 37.30883   W -113.04553        Elev: NaN Feet
    A pool in the wash that you will need to bypass with a little bushwhacking. Continue up the wash or the occasional use trail for about 0.6 miles to where the sandy wash gets to the bottom of a large sandstone dryfall.
  26. wSGA-Apr21          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 37.30166   W -113.04974        Elev: NaN Feet
    Sand wash gets up to the bottom of a 30 or 40 foot sandstone dryfall. Scramble your way up the dryfall or take the easier route and bypass on the slopes on the left (south). From the top of the dryfall, route find your way southwest up the very wide slickrock drainage for about 600 feet to where it gets steeper as you approach a big vertical wall. Note that the drainage is very wide and does not feel like a distinct drainage.
  27. wSGA-Apr22          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 37.30049   W -113.05114        Elev: NaN Feet
    The slickrock drainage begins to get steep. From here veer left (south) and route find your way up the steep slickrock about 200 feet to a scramble / upclimb of about 15 feet near a small peak.
  28. wSGA-Apr23          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 37.30005   W -113.05124        Elev: 6,210 Feet
    Upclimb of about 15 feet near a small peak which may be awkward with a heavy pack on. From the top of the upclimb contour around the small peak to continue west about 150 feet to a small saddle like area where you can start to see the peak of South Guardian Angel.
  29. wSGA-Apr24          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 37.29997   W -113.05168        Elev: NaN Feet
    Small saddle like area where you can start to see the peak of South Guardian Angel. From here route find your way west toward South Guardian Angel contouring around ridges and bowls where needed. About 0.25 miles farther you will be at a shallow saddle where you can see the slickrock ridge leading up South Guardian Angel.
  30. jSGA-Canyon          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 37.29936   W -113.05521        Elev: 6,485 Feet
    Shallow saddle where you can see the slickrock ridge leading up to South Guardian Angel Peak to the south and you can see South Guardian Angel Canyon down to the right (west). To continue up to SGA peak scramble about 0.4 miles southwest up to the peak. To drop down into SGA Canyon, leave the slickrock ridge here and route find your way about 1200 feet southwest to where you can walk down into the canyon about 200 feet below the headwall. You will need to route find your way around a couple drops on the way there.
  31. ySGATp          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 37.29787   W -113.05901        Elev: 6,470 Feet
    Top of South Gaurdian Angel Canyon where you walk into the side of the water course about 200 feet from the head wall. You can scramble up to the head wall if desired.
SGA 3 - Side trip to South Guardian Angel Peak
  1. jSGA-Canyon          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 37.29936   W -113.05521        Elev: 6,485 Feet
    Shallow saddle where you can see the slickrock ridge leading up to South Guardian Angel Peak to the south and you can see South Guardian Angel Canyon down to the right (west). To continue up to SGA peak scramble about 0.4 miles southwest up to the peak. To drop down into SGA Canyon, leave the slickrock ridge here and route find your way about 1200 feet southwest to where you can walk down into the canyon about 200 feet below the headwall. You will need to route find your way around a couple drops on the way there.
  2. wSGA-Apr25          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 37.29790   W -113.05576        Elev: NaN Feet
    Sandstone on the ridge up to SGA peak goes from red to white color.
  3. wSGA-Apr26          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 37.29635   W -113.05771        Elev: NaN Feet
    Top of the steep portion of the ridge.
  4. wSGA-Apr27          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 37.29560   W -113.05935        Elev: NaN Feet
    Top of what may be the true top of SGA canyon. It is a crack about 1 foot wide that drops down through SGA for what looks like all the way down to the base of the major peak. It looks and feels like the mountain is literally split in half with this tiny crak you can step over. Do not fall in.
  5. pSGA          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 37.29554   W -113.05992        Elev: 7,138 Feet
    Top of SGA
SGA 4 - Exit
  1. ySGA-Bt          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 37.30559   W -113.05895        Elev: 5,160 Feet
    Bottom of SGA Canyon where it dumps into the Subway.
  2. sDinosaurTrks          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 37.29957   W -113.06992        Elev: NaN Feet
    Dinosaur Tracks in a large rock RDC. Pretty deep ones with good clarity.
  3. jFootTrlSgn01          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 37.28924   W -113.08490        Elev: NaN Feet
    Foot trail sign by the creek showing the way to the junction for the Left Fork North Creek trailhead.
  4. jLftFrkNrthCk          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 37.28891   W -113.08558        Elev: 4,670 Feet
    Junction where Left Fork North Creek trail drops into the wash.
  5. tLftFrkNrthCk          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 37.28480   W -113.09576        Elev: 5,070 Feet
    Trailhead for the Left Fork of North Creek trail.
SGA 4 - The Canyon
  1. ySGATp          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 37.29787   W -113.05901        Elev: 6,470 Feet
    Top of South Gaurdian Angel Canyon where you walk into the side of the water course about 200 feet from the head wall. You can scramble up to the head wall if desired.
  2. dSGA-R01          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 37.29816   W -113.05889        Elev: NaN Feet
    Raps 1 - South Guardian Angel Canyon. Anchored from a stout bush on the LDC rim about 40 feet down canyon of the top of the drop and drops about 80 feet down a narrow crack. Rap 1 may possibly be downclimbed but it would be a bad idea due to an awkward start to get under a false floor and the lower portion being very slick with moss. Note - Rap 1 alternate anchor options: There is a large pine tree near the head of the drop that could be used but would place the rope over a VERY sharp edge. There are also choke stones at the top of the drop but these will force the rope into v-slots creating rope pull issues and create a very awkward start. Right after rap 1 is another drop of about 35 feet that is bypassed by climbing down along the crack and ledge system on the RDC side. There are a lot of little huecos in the rock here that are interesting to look at and play in. Part way down the ledge system on the RDC side is a drop of about 6 feet that is pretty awkward. providing a handline to everyone and a partner assist here for the last person makes this pretty simple. Although this drop is a downclimb it looks like a bad idea when just looking from the top. After getting someone down on rope they can easily assist others. About 50 feet after the downclimb is rap2.
  3. dSGA-R02          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 37.29840   W -113.05880        Elev: NaN Feet
    Rap 2 - South Guardian Angel Canyon. Anchored from a large rock in the wash about 10 feet back from the drop and drops about 12 feet with a very awkward start. From the bottom of rap 2 contniue down a narrow slot with level floor for about 100 feet to rap 3 where the floor drops out suddenly.
  4. dSGA-R03          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 37.29876   W -113.05859        Elev: NaN Feet
    Rap 3 - South Guardian Angel Canyon where the floor of the narrow slot just drops out from under you. Anchored from choke stone and drops about 140 feet with a ledge about 25 feet from the bottom into a huge deep feeling chamber. The anchor is down on the floor of the skinny crack where it is difficult to get to. Starting rap 3 is awkward as you need to stem out past the false floor and past more skinny crack where you will not fit down through then rap down under the false floor where you need to pendulum under a little ways. This start is made more awkward since it is skinny making it difficult to get you and your pack to squeeze through. Facing RDC allows better features for the stem out and pendulum under the top of rap 3. With a lot of effort and attention, the pendulum action can be slow and controlled. If this place were to be bolted one day this rappel would be a good candidate for a solid set of hangers to allow a rap straight down and no pendulum action. Exiting the down canyon end of the chamber below rap 3 is done by laying down on your side and worming through a narrow opening at the canyon floor and pushing your pack along the canyon floor for about 6 feet to get where you can stand up and walk. There is one other possible exit about 8 feet up where the crack widens but it would be very difficult to get up to. The rest of the crack is not large enough to allow exit. Rap 4 is almost 500 feet down canyon after the chamber and is easy wash walking with one downclimb of about 6 feet.
  5. dSGA-R04          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 37.29995   W -113.05803        Elev: NaN Feet
    Rap 4 - South Guardian Angel Canyon. Anchored from logs wedged about 50 feet back from the drop and drops about 25 feet down a trickling water fall. Since there are not good anchors at the top of rap 4 and you will anchor about 50 feet back. A retrievable anchor like a Smooth Operator can make the pull easier and help reduce rope grooves. After rap 4 is about 250 feet of easy wash walking over to the start of another deep, dark, intimidating crack and rap 5.
  6. dSGA-R05          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 37.30066   W -113.05773        Elev: 6,100 Feet
    Rap 5 - South Guardian Angel Canyon where the second deep, dark, intimidating crack starts. Anchored from a large pine tree about 65 feet back from the drop then drops down sloped slick rock another 75 feet down to a small ledge down in the slot on the LDC side large enough for 2 to 3 people.  The small ledge is right where the crack goes vertical, deep and dark. From the small ledge scramble up a sloped slickrock ramp to a large vegetated ledge.  The scramble up is moderately easy but the consequences of a fall will be fatal as you will fall into the very deep vertical crack.  BE SURE to belay the first person up who can then set a rope on a nearby tree to assist everyone else.  The belay for the first person up can be done with the rappel rope from rap 5 but a fall would result in a pendulum like fall / tumble.  WARNING: This is a tricky spot and care must be taken.  This spot is dangerous and careful thought of how to proceeded is needed. Note: To belay the first person up the slickrock ramp a 190 foot rope is recommended for rap 5. About 150 feet own to the small ledge and another 40 feet up the ramp to the wide vegetated ledge / shelf. Once up the slickrock ramp and onto the large vegetated ledge, walk down canyon about 180 feet down canyon to a downclimb of about 6 feet where at the bottom you can anchor from a large pine tree for rap 6 down into the slot. Note: Another option would be to rig from a large tree near the top of the ramp and drop down into the slot from there.  Where a 300 foot rope will likely be more than long enough for the rappel but this has not been confirmed. Also of note if you drop down the head of the crack by rappelling here you will be on the up canyon side of a pool to swim at the floor of the crack. To avoid this pool use the rappel station down canyon as described here.
  7. dSGA-R06          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 37.30161   W -113.05755        Elev: NaN Feet
    Rap 6 - South Gaurdian Angel Canyon. Anchored from a large pine and drops about 240 feet down into the deep dark crack with a few ledges along the way. A partner assistable downclimb of about 6 feet is just before getting to the anchor. Be very careful not to knock rocks off this sloped dirt and rock filled ledge. When pulling your ropes be sure to walk a little up canyon to keep your ropes from pulling down onto logs jammed overhead. At the bottom of rap 6 is a flat level sandy floor in the bottom of the deep dark crack where you can walk up canyon about 160 feet to the lower part of the vertical head wall of the crack and walk about 300 feet down canyon to where the crack starts to open up and you get to the next rap. Take time to enjoy the belly of this crack as it is a very unique place since it is a combination of water course and deep fault.
  8. dSGA-R07          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 37.30235   W -113.05704        Elev: NaN Feet
    Rap 7 - South Gaurdian Angel Canyon. Anchored LDC from an arch up on a ledge and drops about 30 feet down the LDC wall to avoid a pool below that would be a swimmer. Optionally you can build a deadman anchor in the sand and rappel about 16 feet down the water course to the pool. Easy wash walking for about 500 feet to the next rap.
  9. dSGA-R08          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 37.30360   W -113.05691        Elev: NaN Feet
    Rap 08 - South Gaurdian Angel Canyon. Anchored from a large pine tree about 30 feet back and drops about 70 feet over some ledges near the top then goes free hanging over an alcove. About 9 feet after the rap is a 20 foot drop to bypass.
  10. SGA-Cyn02          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 37.30380   W -113.05672        Elev: 5,760 Feet
    Drop of about 20 feet to bypass on the LDC side by traversing along a sloped dirt bank over and down to the top of the next rap.
  11. dSGA-R09          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 37.30405   W -113.05669        Elev: 5,720 Feet
    Rap 9 - South Gaurdian Angel Canyon. Anchored LDC from a pine tree about 20 feet back up out of the wash and drops about 70 feet. The start to this rap can be a little awkward as it starts down a dihedral and keeping your rope in the corner as you head over can be tricky. Easy walking in sand down to the next rap.
  12. dSGA-R10          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 37.30455   W -113.05673        Elev: NaN Feet
    Rap 10 - South Gaurdian Angel Canyon. Anchored LDC from a small pine and drops about 30 feet down to a huge ledge in the water course where the final rap is.
  13. dSGA-R11          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 37.30471   W -113.05675        Elev: NaN Feet
    Rap 11 - South Gaurdian Angel Canyon. Anchored from a pine tree on the RDC side of the large ledge about 20 feet back and drops about 305 feet from the lip. The first 25 feet is down a wall then the rap goes free hanging the rest of the way down in a huge very scenic alcove. This is an amazing view so take time to enjoy it! Warning: Be sure to extend the the webbing for the anchor all the way and slightly over the lip to ensure an easier pull and make the drop only 305 feet. The rappel starts down a crack which you can easily downclimb into while on rope allowing a safe way to get down the start of the rappel with the anchor webbing extended slightly over the lip. There are big flat ledges on both sides of this rappel. The RDC ledge allows you to laydown and look over to see the entire drop and see if your rope bag is on the ground. From the bottom of the final rap walk down canyon around a huge rock and dirt island with a couple scramble spots down to the Subway about 750 feet west.
  14. ySGA-Bt          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 37.30559   W -113.05895        Elev: 5,160 Feet
    Bottom of SGA Canyon where it dumps into the Subway.